My wife and I have now been locked down and working from home for 83 days since March 8th. One things I noticed after just a few days of was that I was feeling sluggish, lethargic, and mentally foggy. I started to add some walks into my daily routine whenever the weather was nice enough, and that definitely helped, but I knew I needed to find a way to get more substantive workouts in during quarantine. With gyms closed, and not knowing how long this situation would last, I decided to start doing bodyweight strength training at home.
After some googling and help from r/bodyweightfitness I decided to get a doorway pull-up bar, and some gymnastic rings. Of course, as you probably know, all fitness equipment has been sold out everywhere online for a while, but I did manage to find them in-stock after a bit of searching.
Since getting them, I’ve been getting in some pretty amazing workouts, and have really been enjoying the rings a lot more than I thought I would – they make workouts fun. The workouts can be way more intense, and fun, than I expected, and many of the movevments are way harder than you’d imagine on the rings because of the lack of stability they provide. Dips and push-ups on the rings, for example, are much harder than their usual variants.
I also picked up a copy of Overcoming Gravity, which I think is the bible for calisthenics and bodyweight training. I would highly recommend this book if you’re interested in this.
You can work your entire upper body with the gymnastic rings, and increase the intensity (read: difficulty) of the excercises to almost any strength level. Here are just some of the excercises and progressions I’ve been working on:
- Bulgarian (wide-arm) Dips
- RTO (Rings turned out) Dips
- Muscle Ups
- L-Sit Pull-ups
- Front Tuck Lever (working towards front lever) holds
- Horizontal Rows
- Front Tuck Rows
- Hand Stands
- Frog Stand
- Wall Hand Stands
- RTO (rings turned out) push-ups
- Pseudo-planche pushups
- Archer / one-arm pushups
For a comprehensive suite of bodyweight and rings progressions for all skill levels, check out the charts from the Overcoming Gravity book – there’s enough to keep you going for quite a while.
After using the rings and doing only bodyweight work for ~60+ days now, I must say I am enjoying it much more than my prior barbell work at the gym. With barbell work, you do the same movements over and over, with the only “progression” being the increasing the weight. With rings, parallettes, and bodyweight excercises, you are progressing and learning new skills along the way. It really does feel like play, and when you get a new skill, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. The skills I’m working towards (though they will take me quite a while to achieve) right now are:
- 30 second free standing hand stand
- 30 second front lever
- 5 ring muscle ups
- Touch my palms to the floor with straight legs (this is a flexibility goal as I’m very inflexible)
- 5 Bulgarian ring dips (achieved!)
- 10 Diamond pushups (achieved!)
I’ll report back as I hit these goals, but I know these will keep me busy for a while.
If you’ve been looking for a cheap, effective, space-efficient way to workout at home, or in your local park, I highly recommend trying out a pair of gymnastic rings – it’s possibly the best $30 piece of fitness equipment you can buy (coupled with a pull-up bar or something to hang the rings on at home, if needed).